AR-505 / 3 crédits

Enseignant: Maçães E Costa Bárbara

Langue: Anglais


Theory course on modernist environmental aesthetics in architecture.



Architecture, Dialectical criticism, Environmental aesthetics, Modern/postmodern urbanization.

Learning Prerequisites

Recommended courses

Preparation for design and research studios that reflect on cross-scale relationships and the environmental backgrounds of architectural form. Provides a methodological basis for the Enoncé théorique de master and the orientation Project Urbain. Content is closely related to the teaching unit UE U: Cartography (AR-476), which teaches a more practical and design-oriented method of environmental analysis.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Contextualise / Ground architectural 'objects'.
  • Interpret explicit / implicit environmental narratives in architectural form.
  • Assess / Evaluate the contradictions between the material and ideological layers of the environment.
  • Structure / Describe architectural projects as environmental totalities.

Teaching methods

This course uses a method of dialectical criticism that aims to excavate hidden relations and associations between built form and its socio-economic and natural contexts. This means understanding the environment as a totality of evolving moments: nature, technology, production, reproduction, and aesthetics. When we apply this totality to a concrete location, a system emerges from the palimpsest of layers. We can then measure how a project inserts itself within that palimpsest and deduce a more or less conscious positionality, i.e., we can see architecture as a device of environmental mediation. Class lectures are modelled on this methodology. They present a selection of texts and projects, as well as maps produced by students of the teaching unit UE U: Cartography. A weekly bibliography is provided and prior read- ing is advised.

Assessment methods

Students are asked to submit an essay (ca. 3,000 words) in which they develop an environmental critique of an existing building or project following the course methodology. An oral exam based on the essay will be held at the end of the semester. All classes are held in English, and essays may be written in English or French. Students may work in pairs. Assessment: class participation: 10%; Paper abstract and outline: 10%; Paper coherence, pertinence of topic, depth of analysis: 40%; Oral Exam: 40%.


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  • BENJAMIN, Walter. "Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century: Exposé of 1939." In The Arcades Project, translated by H. Eiland and K. McLaughlin, 14–26. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.
  • BERMAN, Marshall. "Goethe's Faust: The Tragedy of Development." In All That is Solid Melts into Air, 15–86. London: Penguin, 1982.
  • HARVEY, David. "The Passage from Modernity to Postmodernity in Contemporary Culture." In The Condition of Postmodernity, 3–120. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990.
  • HEYNEN, Hilde, Architecture and Modernity: A Critique. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

Ressources en bibliothèque

Références suggérées par la bibliothèque


Detailed syllabus with dedicated class readings provided upon enrolment.


Moodle Link

Dans les plans d'études

  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Oral (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Modernity, architecture and the environment
  • Cours: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Oral (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Modernity, architecture and the environment
  • Cours: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines

Semaine de référence


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